by Steven Ertelt
January 23, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — More than 100,000 pro-life advocates showed up on Monday in the nation’s capital to sing, pray or silently share their views against abortion as they walked to the Supreme Court. The March for Life represented a variety of ages, backgrounds and political views, and teens and women were well represented.
The marchers included numerous college student groups, and featured three busloads of students from Notre Dame, and a group of students from Princeton, an Ivy League school where they say they rely on reason and logic to defend the pro-life position.
Prior to the March for Life, tens of thousands of pro-life advocates gathered near Congress to hear a slate of speakers from various pro-life groups and pro-life members of Congress.
One woman told of her pain of having an abortion: "I have had three abortions and now I can’t have any more children."
Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican and leading pro-life member of Congress, hailed the courageous women who have had abortions who came to the march to share their stories.
Numerous women lined up on and around the main podium from the Silent No More Awareness campaign with signs saying, "I Regret My Abortion."
"They are proof that there is reconciliation and there is hope," he said. "We are so glad to have the women of Silent No More here with us on the stage. Their testimony gives witness to the lie that the other side puts forth, that abortion is pro-woman."
Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, who was euthanized by her husband last year, also addressed the large crowd.
President Bush called and spoke with marchers shortly before they left a pre-march rally to line the streets on the way to the Supreme Court.
"We’re sending a clear message to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy: We love you, we love your child, and we’re here to help you," Bush said.
The president touted numerous pieces of pro-life legislation he’s signed and renewed his call for a ban on human cloning and for Congress to pass a measure respecting parental involvement laws.
"Because human life is a gift from our Creator and should never be used as a means to an end, we will not sanction the creation of life only to destroy it," he said.
Pro-abortion groups also held their own rally supporting abortion — with a small candlelight vigil outside the Supreme Court on Sunday night.
Before the March for Life began, more than 22,000 youth and young adults packed the MCI Center to capacity for a pre-march rally. The crowd was so large officials began preventing people from entering the building.
Susan Gibes, a spokeswoman for the Washington archdiocese, which helped sponsor the Catholic-oriented event, called the turnout "pretty exciting."
Meanwhile, other rallies were held across the country, often with thousands of pro-life advocates participating.
In San Francisco, California more than 15,000 pro-life advocates walked in a peaceful march on some of the city’s popular waterside streets. And in St. Paul, Minnesota, more than 6,000 pro-life advocates braved the cold weather to listen to a speech by Go. Tim Pawlenty.
"This year is special for me because I am a mother out of wedlock," Katie Whitte, 20, whose daughter is 5 months old, told AP. "I wanted to get the message out that life is important. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are."
Over 1,000 people attended a South Carolina rally in Columbia, and 400 turned out for a Boise, Idaho rally.